Hard News by Russell Brown


PAWOTY: We are all quaxing now

The Public Address Word of the Year for 2015 is "quaxing", a neologism that has not only lasted the whole year, but has gone global, popping up as far afield as Germany, Britain, Canada, the US and even Christchurch.

The genesis of the word, which emerged from social media banter between Auckland Councillor Dick Quax and several cyclists and public transport users on the second day of 2015, is explained here on the By the Motorway blog, which also offers an official definition of what quaxing is:

Quax, [verb; past: quaxed, present: quaxing] — to shop, in the western world, by means of walking, cycling or public transit.

"Who could have known that a mere Twitter spat would have such positive and enduring consequences?" said Public Address founder Russell Brown. "I'd like to offer thanks and congratulations to Cr Quax for getting the ball rolling – and for having such a mint surname."

Quaxing led from the first hour of voting by Public Address readers last Wednesday and its lead over the runner-up, "Red Peak" grew until voting closed on Friday night. "Twitterati" was third, with a relatively large gap back to the rest of the Top 10. Brown paid tribute to the work of TV3 political editor Patrick Gower in popularising "Twitterati".

"Paddy didn't invent 'Twitterati', but he certainly did more than anyone else to get it into the discourse, even if he was trolling everyone," said Brown. "It would be great if we could take the next step and actually agree on who the Twitterati are. I'm bloody sure it isn't me ... is it?"

The Top 10 Words for 2015 as voted by the readers of Public Address are:

1. Quaxing

2. Red Peak

3. Twitterati

4. Ponytail

5. Campbell Live

6. Mansplain

7. Refugee

8. Fleg

9. Climate change

10. Vexillology

As ever, there are two prizes associated with the Public Address Word of the Year. One goees to the first person to propose the winning word – which is known quaxer Jolisa Gracewood. Jolisa wins the Psychoactive Prize Bundle, which comprises a double pass to the southern hemisphere's best whisky festival, DramFest, $100 to spend at The Hemp Store and a month's supply of fine coffee blends from Peoples Coffee.

"I'm very pleased for Jolisa," said Brown. "That hundy at the Hemp Store will buy her a pretty sweet waterpipe."

The big prize of a $700 pair of Focal Spirit Classic headphones from The Audio Consultant, drawn at random from all voters, went to voter number 58, Steve Adams of Auckland.

"It's my fucking birthday!" said Adams when he was contacted with the news. "No, really, it is. It's my birthday yo."

Brown thanked the prize sponsors and all those who voted, adding that "the highlight of this whole thing for me has been Mary Wilson forbidding me from saying 'twatcock' on Morning Report. I'm done."


Christmas quaxing in Canada:

In Manchester:

In cyberspace:

And in Auckland!

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